Our First Year with Apologia

Last school year (2012-2013) we used Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Astronomy (Young Explorer Series) as our Science curriculum. I had my doubts initially, this was after all only our third year homeschooling and I wasn’t sure if my daughter (or I) could handle it. She was 6 at that time. But the book was recommended by our Family Adviser, whose homeschooled son is now a University senior. If she thought we could do it, then I believed her.

It turned out my daughter loved it. She would read our lessons in advance on her own. There were many times during the year when she would come to me with a “did you know that such-and-such was like this” and then share what she had learned from the Astronomy book.

When I saw that she thoroughly enjoyed Astronomy I went ahead and ordered a beginner’s telescope so the whole family could take a look at the stars. Sadly, we didn’t get to see any stars through the telescope because of the very heavy light pollution in the city we live in. But we captured a few pictures of the moon in different phases.

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My younger sons enjoyed learning Astronomy with her. The pictures in the book were attractive and they often joined us during the experiments. We were able to do all of them and these were fun times during our Science lessons.

My sons, however, got bored easily when I read the book aloud. So I got the “What You Aren’t Being Told About Astronomy” Volume 1 DVD by www.creationastronomy.com to help support their interest. The DVD is designed for  older children but the images and texts helped my sons, especially my beginner reader who is a Visual (Object)-Auditory-Kinesthetic Learner, to appreciate the bits and pieces he picked up from the Apologia book when we read it aloud.

I also got the Junior Notebooking Journal for my daughter after we struggled in the beginning with the note-booking activities. The Journal turned out to be a huge time-and-effort saver, and made it worth the price even if it was pricey.

As for field trips, we visited The Mind Museum which opened in March 2012. Patterned after the Science Centre in Singapore, The Mind Museum is a world-class museum with excellent exhibits that are very much child-oriented. We were so blessed to have it within the metropolis and not too far away from where we lived. All the exhibits were hands-on for the children and helped so much to reinforce the lessons in the book. The only issue for me was that it is evolution-based but not so much that it could cause confusion for the children. The ticket prices were a bit steep also for us at about $18 a person but it was well worth it.

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I loved the Apologia curriculum because it is thorough, accurate, Creation-based and interesting with experiments that can be carried out using readily-available household items. My daughter’s favorite part was when we stayed up past midnight to watch the Geminid meteor showers, thanks to the approximate dates provided in the book. We lay on our mats on the ground, ate some snacks and counted the “shooting stars” (a total of 18 in all) during the one hour we watched the night sky. That counts as one of our most memorable homeschool moments.

What I didn’t like was the read aloud part. I had to explain the terms that were beyond her developmental level and found myself re-stating the text too often. That said, the experience of being read aloud to was a positive one for her and me. It also presented a side benefit in that my sons picked up vocabulary words that would have been hard to teach just by being with earshot during reading aloud.

My daughter is looking forward to the next book in the Young Explorer Series (Botany) in the coming school year. My older son is excited at his turn to study Astronomy. I’m praying for wisdom and strength to be able to do these with the youngest who’ll be starting his formal schooling at the same time. Yet, I am grateful that we were able to study Science with Apologia.

 

 

This post is my contribution to the Apologia Round-Up hosted by My Joy Filled Life. Click the button below to read what other families think of Apologia’s curriculum:

 

 

 

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